Sensationalizing child deaths through the court process does little to help end child abuse

(PR NewsChannel) / July 5, 2011 / SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. 

ChildHelpThe Casey Anthony trial has captivated our nation like so many high profile cases in the past, but at the end of the day these types of trials seem to do more harm than good for the efforts of child abuse prevention across America.

Despite intense public and media scrutiny of cases such as Susan Smith in 1994, JonBenet Ramsey in 1996, Andrea Yates in 2001 and Baby Gabriel in 2009, the numbers of child deaths from abuse keep rising. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made every year, or about one every 10 seconds. The 2009 Child Maltreatment report from HHS estimates that 1,770 child abuse deaths occurred in 2009, or five per day. This number has been increasing for the past five years. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. Child abuse is an epidemic and brutal deaths happen every day.

“In addition to the tragic death of Caylee, four other children died that day and die every day, yet we aren’t talking about them,” said Kristi Murphy, Clinical Director at the Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona. “Instead of feeling helpless while watching this trial, Americans should feel compelled to protect the children who are in their lives and help parents who are struggling.”

Great strides have been made in recent years with better reporting, new legislation and increased awareness, but there is still much to be done. According to UNICEF, research estimates that almost 3,500 children under the age of 15 die from physical abuse and neglect every year in the industrialized world and of the 27 richest nations in the world, the United States, Mexico and Portugal rates of child deaths are 10 to 15 times higher than other countries. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 was $104 billion.

Free resources are available such as the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, a 24-hour free crisis hotline that is staffed by degreed counselors. The Childhelp website has many resources and tips for children, parents, professionals and offers statistics, definitions and information about child abuse.

“Government isn’t going to fix this – case loads are too high and budgets are too low,” said Murphy.

“That is why everyone, including the media, needs to offer help and resources to families and parents that are struggling- we have an obligation to our children and an obligation as citizens within our communities to be advocates for those who cannot speak up; they deserve nothing less.”

About Childhelp ®: CEO and Co-Founder Sara O’Meara and President and Co-Founder Yvonne Fedderson started Childhelp in 1959, establishing it as a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect and at-risk children. Childhelp’s approach focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD®, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and receives calls from throughout the United States, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Childhelp’s programs and services also include residential treatment services; children’s advocacy centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes and child abuse prevention, education and training. Childhelp also created the National Day of Hope®, held each April during National Child Abuse Prevention Month that mobilizes people across America to join the fight against child abuse.

For more information about Childhelp, please call 480-922-8212 or visit

Megan Rose
Gordon C. James Public Relations
602-274-1988 / 602-690-0801 (cell)


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SOURCE:  ChildHelp

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